Variety Week 2016

Variety Week on Global BC from Oct. 31 to Nov. 4.

Join us from Oct. 31 to Nov. 4 for the first ever Variety Week in B.C. on Global BC.

All week we will be showcasing the amazing work Variety does around the province helping kids with special needs and their families.

Our week-long programming will end in a News Hour on the Road show Friday, Nov. 4. We will be live all day from Central City Shopping Centre in Surrey and Chris Gailus will be doing the Global News Hour at 6 live from the plaza.

There will also be a number of guests and performances throughout the day, starting at 11 a.m.

Donate to Variety here

Also, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. you will have a chance to have your free snapshot taken on the Global News set!

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Did you have your picture taken? Click here to find it.

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Variety Week on Global BC

Here are some of the stories and highlights you will see on Global BC and BC1 starting Oct. 31.

Drake (22 months), Chilliwack

Drake was diagnosed with a very rare form of Down syndrome (Robertsonian Translocation Down Syndrome). He was also born with a large hole in his heart called a VSD, and had a muscle bundle in the right ventricle of the heart that was inhibiting blood flow. He was in heart failure from day one, and needed open heart surgery at 4 months. Drake also has poor muscle tone and requires special orthoses in order to walk independently. Variety provided Drake with grants to provide equipment so his mother Shelley could take him home from the hospital, and later to cover the cost of his orthoses. Shelley says that because of Variety, her son will walk.

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Oliver (5), Terrace/Vancouver

Oliver was diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech, a complex motor speech disorder when he was 3 years old. In May, Oliver’s mom Leah was diagnosed with ALL (a type of Leukemia). Her treatment required her to be in Vancouver for the next 1-2 years, so the family relocated from Terrace. They were initially excited to move to a bigger city centre, thinking it would mean more options for Oliver, but soon discovered Oliver’s therapy sessions would no longer be covered as he started kindergarten in September, and was now too old for the Early Intervention Therapy Program. In August, Variety stepped in to cover 2 speech therapy sessions a week for the next year for Oliver.

Dacian (12), Victoria

At 4 years old, Dacian was diagnosed with Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy. The condition is progressive and males with DMD rarely live into their 30s and often lose the ability to walk by the time they’re 12. Dacian can walk, though uses a wheelchair most days to get around because his energy levels deplete quickly. Variety provided funding that allowed the family to get a wheelchair converted van. Dacian is now able to take his power wheelchair everywhere, giving him a much needed sense of independence.

Johannes (11), New Westminster

Variety has been a “godsend” to their family on more than one occasion says Johannes’ father Jamie. When Johannes was 8 months old he underwent a multi-layer laminectomy where they removed 9 vertebrae to extract a large blood clot in his spine. Variety covered the cost of his brace and they never ever had to worry about how they would afford it. Now that Johannes is older, Variety has provided funding to allow the family to purchase a folding wheelchair which will take pressure off Johannes’ ankles, a trigger area for bleeding due to severe Hemophelia.

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The Surrey School District, in partnership with the RCMP and the City of Surrey, launched the Surrey WRAParound Program in 2009, with the focus of helping to positively attach youth at risk of gang involvement to their school, their family, the community and their peers. Based on a “philosophy of care” approach, students are aided by a facilitator and the wraparound team who support and engage in the well-being of the participant, while they build skills, new interests and positive visions for the future.


Many Variety grants are distributed to individuals and organizations that promote the use of Music Therapy. One of the more unique programs, is the Bandwagon program. By funding 5 Bandwagons for each of the five Health Regions across BC, Variety has helped to ensure the continued success of the program. By Variety Week at the end of October, at least one of the units will be ready for delivery, and Global will be there live to watch it happen!


The South exterior wall of the Nanaimo CDC building was failing, creating a health risk to children and limiting usability of therapy rooms, the preschool and the gymnasium. With the help of Variety, the repairs and renovations will ensure that the children with special needs are able to fully participate in the services offered. Construction began on September 12th, and is expected to take just few weeks.

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The Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association (CTRA) provides therapeutic riding and equine-facilitated therapeutic interventions for persons with disabilities. Recently, Variety provided the CTRA with a grant to purchase equipment for their new Therapeutic Vaulting program. In addition to the myriad positive outcomes common to CTRA’s core services, therapeutic vaulting program participants develop strength, flexibility, balance, poise, and self-confidence while benefitting from the responsibility, trust, and teamwork inherent to the group-based structure.


Variety provided a $250,000 grant to the Carlile Youth Concurrent Disorders Centre at the HOpe Centre at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver. The 10-bed inpatient unit is designed to meet unique needs of youth age 13-18 with serious concurrent disorders, and will be the first facility of its kind in British Columbia. The centre is currently under construction, and set to open in April 2017.


Variety has updated the way it provides short-term, urgent need services to families through its Variety Cares Fund. The new program supports families all across the province by providing hospital foundations in each health region with direct access to funds so that social workers can expedite services to assist families in a more efficient and timely manner. These funds, allocated to those most in financial need, reduce the monetary burden on families so they can focus on what matters most – the health of their child.

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Many of the grants that families apply to Variety for are for children’s prescriptions. Families who apply either require medications that are not covered by their health plans, or need coverage before Pharmacare deductibles will be waived. Variety will provide funding for medications up until the Pharmacare deductible threshold is reached, as well as funding medications that are not covered. Notably, many of these grants are provided for diabetes medications.


Get behind the scenes of Variety’s grant process and follow what it takes to provide families and children across the province with the help they need. From that first call, or email or letter, Variety is there for each and every family, and if Variety is not able to help, the staff will direct individuals in the right direction – everyone who applies gets a response, even if they have to be pointed towards another charity.


The Provincial Government’s At Home Program is intended to assist parents with some of the extraordinary costs of caring for a child with severe disabilities at home. The program has very strict eligibility criteria, and many children in British Columbia with special needs don’t qualify despite requiring assistance for vital equipment such as wheelchairs, digital hearing aids, or orthotics. This can leave families to face financial difficulties – having to either cover the costs themselves, or search for alternative funding through organizations like Variety -The Children’s Charity.


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